The Role of Fat and Why it is Important in the Diet

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Lipids store energy, as well as other functions. Triglycerides are the main source of energy storage and are held in adipose tissue of organisms. The breakdown of fats provides 9 kcal/g, compared with 4kcal/g for protein and carbohydrates. Lipids include fats, sterols, fat-soluble vitamins, triglycerides, diglycerides, monoglycerides, waxes, fatty acids, and phospholipids. Breakdown of triglycerides in animals is mainly controlled by the enzyme lipase. The breakdown of fatty acids into lipids is called “lipogenesis”. 

Saturated Fatty Acids: do not have double bonds between carbon atoms, have chains that are rigid and straight, already “saturated” (in other words cannot have hydrogen atoms added to the bonds between carbon atoms). They can be harmful to the heart (causing issues with the mitral valve) and blood vessels.

Unsaturated Fatty Acids: have double bonds between carbon atoms, double-bonded pairs of carbon atoms can be saturated by adding hydrogen atoms to them.

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